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Just in time training

Just in time training

Table of Contents

You know that Microsoft Excel tutorial you watched on YouTube? Or the recipe you Googled for last night’s dinner? Well, those are examples of just-in-time training (or JITT training). 

JIT training isn’t just for the kitchen, though. 

It’s an increasingly common employee training approach. Rather than scrolling through lengthy online courses or flipping through notes from a course they took six months ago, JIT training gives employees bite-sized training content just when they need it. 

And the results speak for themselves–increased employee engagement, enhanced staff performance, and better business results.

Want to know more? Then keep reading to discover:

  • What JIT training is
  • A brief history of JITT
  • How to implement JIT training in your company 
  • The benefits of incorporating this approach in your training programs 


What is just-in-time (JIT) training?

JIT training gives employees access to on-demand learning at the point of need. In other words, it provides relevant training content at the right time. 

We live in an on-demand world. Netflix, Spotify, YouTube–we get our media just when we want it. 

So, why should learning be any different? Being able to access training content anytime and from anywhere is something that 57% of employees already expect from their employers.

Nobody wants to waste time looking for the right information. Especially not when the learning material is urgently needed, such as when supporting a customer or trying to close a sale. 

JIT responds to these needs by offering focused chunks of information that learners can absorb and complete in mere minutes. It essentially combines on-demand learning with mobile learning and microlearning content

Let’s say a staff member needs to know how a specific process works.

JIT training empowers employees to quickly go online from their computers or mobile devices, search the corporate learning platform, and find the answers they need right when they need them.

Up next, we go back in time and look at the origins of the JIT approach to training and instructional design.


A brief history of JIT training

The concept of JIT  comes from the world of manufacturing. 

It was first pioneered by the Japanese car manufacturer Toyota in the 1950s. 

The objective of JIT manufacturing is to save warehouse space, cut unnecessary costs, and improve efficiency. 

It does so by only providing the exact number of parts to the manufacturing process as and when they’re needed.

JIT is a solution to many logistical problems associated with traditional manufacturing. Without JIT, manufacturers would stockpile some parts and items, taking up precious warehouse space. At the same time, production would stall while waiting for another part to arrive. 

When companies apply the JIT methodology, they solve both of these problems. 

From manufacturing, JIT made the jump to learning and development. JIT learning does the same thing for training programs that JIT manufacturing does for building products. 

It satisfies the learner’s needs just as they come up. Unlike traditional training that happens at a designated time and place when a subject matter expert is available, JIT learning is available to fulfill learning needs anytime. 

Now that we know where JIT learning comes from let’s see how to go about using it in the workplace.


How to use JIT training in the workplace

If you want to know how to use JIT training in your workplace, you’ve come to the right place.

We break down how to adopt a just-in-time training model in your organization in three steps. 

Step #1: Analyze your needs

First, identify which training needs you should deliver just in time. Remember, you don’t need to convert everything in your organization to the JIT learning model. 

A good way to figure out what your employees need is to observe them at their jobs. What kind of knowledge and information do they need quickly but currently don’t have access to? 

Use this data to define a list of topics that should be transformed into JIT content and then rank each item by the level of priority.


Step #2: Foster a learning culture

JIT works best when you combine it with a strong learning culture. If JIT is going to work in your company, you need collaboration and support from stakeholders at every level. 

With JIT, learning becomes an integral part of your business processes and not just something that’s done from time to time. It empowers employees to take ownership of their learning and actively seek the knowledge they need.


Step #3: Use a robust LMS

A powerful Learning Management System (LMS) helps you achieve both of these steps. 

You can use analytics from your existing e-learning courses to identify skill gaps. For example, what learning content are your learners are accessing most often? Are there specific modules with higher-than-average views? These are good candidates to turn into JIT learning content. 

An LMS is also the best way to deliver JIT training content. You can create catalogs of learning materials broken down by topic, knowledge level, or function. 

Alternatively, you can create an internal knowledge base packed with JIT content so employees can easily search and consume the training content they need.

Opting for a mobile-friendly LMS like Docebo is essential in building your JIT training strategy. That way, critical information is always available to employees at the point of need.

Some of the best places to start using JIT training are onboarding, sales training, and compliance training. This gives employees immediate access to urgent information without disrupting workflows or potential sales. 

Plus, LMS reporting allows you to track how many employees are making use of the JIT training material, making it easier to gauge its overall effectiveness.

Next up, we cover the benefits of JIT training.


Five benefits of JIT training

Implementing JIT training in your organization will require an initial investment. From identifying the content that needs to be converted to JIT to setting up your LMS knowledge base to measuring the results of your efforts. You are going to need to dedicate time and resources to get the program on its feet.

That said, the benefits far outweigh the efforts. We look at five major business benefits of a just-in-time training model.


Benefit #1: Increased efficiency

One of the main benefits of just-in-time training is efficiency. Your employees get the knowledge they need exactly when they need it. 

That way, they don’t waste time going through training content when they don’t need it. The employees’ mental resources free up as well since they don’t have to remember every detail of a training session. 

Since all training content is under one roof, employees also don’t waste valuable time toggling between different platforms. Instead, everything is easily accessible in the LMS.

In the long run, this will boost knowledge retention because employees can always get a refresher of the most important takeaways.

This increase in efficiency also translates to business results. Highly-trained and engaged staff lead to quicker response times and a better overall customer experience.


Benefit #2. Enhanced training results

Companies need to be agile when it comes to learning and training. Your product and services change often and fast to accommodate market conditions and customer needs. 

Your training material should too. 

Because you usually deliver JIT training in small bursts, it’s easy to update and keep accurate. This is essential for achieving your learning outcomes.

For your employees to have the right competencies, they need accurate information. Online training delivered just in time makes it easy to do so. 

Anytime there’s a change, you can easily update the online learning module to reflect it.

JIT training improves the accuracy of your workers’ knowledge too. A lot of what people learn during formal training gets lost in time. You can thank the forgetting curve for that. But when employees can quickly refresh their knowledge, they forget less. That is, knowledge retention improves. 

JIT training just works better for real-world conditions that employees find themselves in. If a customer asks a sales rep a question, the rep can quickly find the relevant training resources and answer the question without disrupting anyone’s workflow.


Benefit #3: Higher accessibility

Speaking of not disturbing any workflows, another great benefit of JIT training is that your learners can access it from anywhere and at any time. 

That’s why JIT needs on-demand and mobile learning to really take off. 

This is especially important for field workers, healthcare providers, sales reps, and others who work on their feet and don’t have the time to sit down and go through a long learning process. 

JIT training is a perfect approach in these cases because it makes learning available with just a few clicks. 

In a sense, the JIT approach brings corporate learning and development into the 21st century. We’re all used to having information and content accessible 24/7 through our smartphones. 

Accessibility enhances learning because employees  can access the content they need on their smart devices instead of having to wait until they’re at their desks. 


Benefit #3: Up-to-date learning content

We don’t need to tell you this. Companies need to update their training content fast and often to keep up with business changes.

Now, think of what’s easier to keep up to date. A long e-learning course with multiple lessons and modules, or JIT training content made with accessibility and microlearning in mind? 

Yep, you guessed it—you can update the smaller bits of content much faster. 

This way, your employees, especially those on the “front lines”, can always access the most relevant and most recent information. No question will make your sales reps pause anymore. For manual laborers who often work in hazardous conditions, compliance and safety information are a click away. 

Taking into account that a typical corporate learner can only devote 24 minutes per week to training, it’s easy to see why JIT training combined with microlearning is the right approach for the modern, fast-paced work environment. 


Benefit #5: Budget-friendly approach

If we’re being totally honest, learning and development most often don’t come cheap. There’s getting the LMS, creating the content using authoring tools, and taking time away from productive work to focus on training. 

These costs add up quickly, so increasing the productivity of your e-learning efforts is critical. 

Microlearning modules are relatively inexpensive compared to lengthy and more involved online courses.

Using an authoring tool speeds up the creation process, saving you valuable time and resources. These tools come with templates and content libraries, so all you have to do is add your assets and organize the content. 

When it comes to updating JIT content, top LMSs, such as Docebo, integrate with leading authoring tools. This streamlines the process, allowing you to seamlessly update training content without affecting users or having to re-upload the learning material.

It’s that simple, and before you know it, your employees are ready to deploy and access JIT training content. 

Let’s wrap up with a brief recap.


Key takeaways

From its roots in Toyota’s production line to the world of L&D, JIT training has come far. And it’s hardly surprising when we look at the benefits it offers. 

JIT training makes corporate learning faster, more efficient, and less expensive. 

With JIT training, employees can quickly and easily access relevant information they need to do their jobs productively and effectively.  This results in a more engaged workforce, increased productivity, and happier customers. 

To implement JIT training in your organization, you’re going to need:

  • Company-wide collaboration
  • An LMS to deliver, manage, and track JIT training content
  • A defined list of the content that should be delivered just in time 

For more inspiration on how to implement different kinds of training and learning in your organization, take a look at our glossary.